Health & Fitness

Be a Savvy User of Dietary Supplements

Everything You Must Know Before Taking One

More and more people are considering supplementing their diet with vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances. Looking for reliable information about taking dietary supplements is crucial, especially today, since there are countless health products available in the market.

Of course, you need to invest in a product that effectively boosts your health and well-being, as well as stay away from those that are unnecessary and might potentially do more harm than good.

Health experts say that the choice to take dietary supplements is a wise decision, only if you become smart and savvy about it. You should be able to differentiate trustworthy information from the doubtful. Here are some tips to help you become a wise supplement user.

4 Basic Considerations

1. Your total diet

As the name implies, dietary supplements are manufactured and taken to supplement your diet. This further means that these pills should not replace a well-balanced diet. Eating foods rich in essential nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, is still the primary method for getting quality nutrition.

The use of health supplements generated buzz when scientists and researchers found out that farm-produced goods today don’t contain as many nutrients as before. But this does not necessarily mean that everyone must take dietary supplements.

There are some vitamins and minerals that, when taken excessively, can cause problems. So you should be aware of the upper safe limits for these substances, along with the potential benefits and functions of vitamins and minerals.

2. A consultation with your doctor

Under some circumstances, taking dietary supplements involves risks. These include being pregnant and suffering from certain medical conditions like hypertension, heart diseases, and diabetes. Thus, it is crucial that you consult your doctor first before taking any supplement.

If you are currently taking medication, speak with your physician first before buying any health supplement. Remember that these substances can interact with the active ingredients of your medicines. Safety isn’t guaranteed in all users.

The same is true for children. Though vitamins are regarded safe for your kids, a consultation with their pediatrician is highly recommended. This is the only way to make sure that what you and your kids are taking is safe.

3. Upcoming surgery

If you have an upcoming surgery, you need to inform your surgeon about the supplements you are currently taking. This is crucial if your physician is different from your surgeon. Don’t assume that your doctor has informed the surgeon about this.

You might need to stop taking your dietary supplements days or weeks prior to your surgery to make sure that they won’t interact with the medications they will use during surgery. Be aware that vitamins, herbs, and minerals can adversely affect the surgery’s outcome by altering your heart rate, bleeding time, and blood pressure.

4. Safety and efficacy

Once it is determined that you really need supplementation, make sure to choose one that is proven safe and effective. Today, it has become a lot easier to spot reliable supplements from those that aren’t. The product must have a quality assurance seal, accurate labeling, and a list of all ingredients.

Aside from checking the product’s bottle or box, make sure to do further research. Check the company’s reputation. Most importantly, make sure that the product has been tested and verified.

Reputable manufacturers often partner with reliable companies to verify their products by giving out pharmaceutical reference standards to laboratories for accurate testing, ensuring that all their products deliver what they promise. As a supplement user, you should be aware of such.

How to Check Product Information Through a Web Search

With the convenience of using the Internet, most people are relying on online searches to check for information on health supplements. But not everything you find online is true, so you must be meticulous about which sites and information to believe.

Step 1: Know who operates the website

Determine if the site is operated by a university, the government, or reliable health-related organizations. Also, check if the information published was written and reviewed by experts.

Step 2: Determine the site’s purpose

The website should be educational, not promotional. Be reminded that there are organizations whose main aim is to promote their products and services. You should be able to differentiate proven information from ads.

Step 3: Check the source and references of the information

Apart from knowing when the web content was published and updated, you should also look at its sources and references. Those that mention where the study is listed are considered reputable. This will give you the opportunity to check if the references or sources are genuine.

Like any other treatment, it is crucial for you to ensure safety before taking any dietary supplement. Product contamination and drug interactions are the main concerns. Remember that manufacturers are not obliged to prove their product’s safety and efficacy. It is your responsibility to make sure that what you are planning to consume suits your lifestyle and specific health conditions by following these tips.

 

Frank L. Jaksch Jr.

Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.

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